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Ear to the Ground

McCain’s POW Cross Story Raises Eyebrows

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Posted on Aug 17, 2008

John McCain won major points on Saturday for his story about a North Vietnamese prison guard drawing a cross in the dirt, but the tale has bloggers crying foul. Apparently the details of the story have changed over the years, and lately they bear more than a passing resemblance to the memories of the late Russian novelist and gulag survivor Alexander Solzhenitsyn.


Political Insider:

Last week, a speech by Sen. John McCain had phrases that were likely lifted directly from Wikipedia.

Now it seems McCain may have lifted another story last night at megachurch pastor Rick Warren’s Faith Forum. According to a very persuasive Daily Kos diary, the anecdote McCain told about a North Vietnamese prison guard making a cross in the dirt as a sign of solidarity—or as he said, “just two Christians worshiping together”—is very similar to a story about Alexander Solzhenitsyn and his times in the Soviet Gulags.

“As Solzhenitsyn stared at the Cross drawn in the dirt, his entire perspective changed. He knew he was only one man against the all-powerful Soviet empire. Yet he knew there was something greater than the evil he saw in the prison camp, something greater than the Soviet Union. He knew that hope for all people was represented by that simple Cross. Through the power of the Cross, anything was possible.”

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By Dave, October 10, 2008 at 1:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I used to bullseye womp rats in my T 16 back home

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By Pres. McCain addresses the nation, August 19, 2008 at 1:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

from the 1983 film “Sudden Impact:”

Bradford Dillman (Captain Briggs): “Don’t you lecture me, you son of a bitch! Do you know who I am? Do you know my record?”
Clint Eastwood (Harry): “Yeah… you’re a legend in your own mind.”

McCain’s mantra is making my stomach lurch. I can picture every State of the Union address he gives in coming years, spoken while stupidly nodding his head like Ronald Reagan…“you young people… may not know this but I was a high-value prisoner in Hanoi back in the big War..yes, they kept me curled-up in a fetal position for 24 years my friends ..yes, I was in a Communist dungeon longer than that Nelson Mandela fellow. Now let me tell you what it was like killing so many of my captors, only my teeth and toes poking through the bars as weapons..”  Thankfully at this point in his address, President McCain is gently poked in the ass by his ever-present 2nd-in-command, VP Joe Lieberman.

Unfortunately, by his sixth such annual address to the Nation, almost all Democrats, Independents, Naderites, Greens and a few libertarians had either relocated to Canada or Mexico or, sadly, committed suicide.

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By pacrat, August 19, 2008 at 11:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Poor white haired wrinkled little old man - he has been trading on his POW stories for years - but have they ever been verified? Old Flipper is an ecumenical christian - just kiddiing, right? John will say or do anything to get a vote.

His capabilities as a potential “commander in chief” were revealed the other day when he went off half cocked about the Russian invasion of Georgia and then usurped the president by dispatching tweedle dumb and tweedle dummer to go on a fact finding mission.

Did it ever occur to him that he is not in control of anything - let alone himself?

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By Old Lady, August 19, 2008 at 9:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It is long past due for someone to point out that if Senator McCain is going to use his POW stories for political gain, it should be pointed out that he collaborated with the enemy and made 32 tapes for them to gain better treatment for himself. He was nicknamed “Songbird” McCane for a reason. Further, in the Saddleback Forum he stated that the most difficult decision he ever made was to turn down the opportunity to get released ahead of fellow POW prisoners. Can you imagine the consequences if he HAD taken early release? His military career would have been over and the humiliation to his father and grandfather would have been devastating to the family. If McCane wins this election he will be the first Commander in Chief to have ever collaborated with the enemy for personal gain. That alone should disqualify him from holding the office!

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By Leefeller, August 19, 2008 at 6:28 am Link to this comment

One good thing about telling a lie for some people, is they do not have to remember the truth.

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By hippy pam, August 19, 2008 at 5:29 am Link to this comment

Problem is…most of MY FRIENDS and PEERS died in THAT WAR-so there isn’t really anyone to colloborate his “fiction”

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By diamond, August 18, 2008 at 11:14 pm Link to this comment

Oh, COME ON Derward Bowles! You can’t tell me his name is really Swindle. I refuse to believe it, it’s just too delicious.

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By Deward Bowles, August 18, 2008 at 9:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The McCain camapaign released a statement on their website saying Swindle remebered McCain telling him the story in 1971.

Problem is Swindle is not telling the truth.

Get this, Politco ran a story about McCain’s cross story April the 4th 2008 and Swindle was specifically interviewed on the story.

“I don’t recall us talking specifically about our faith,” says Orson Swindle, one of McCain’s closest friends and a fellow POW. “We talked about our friends, families, our resistance posture, and that our country didn’t seem to have the will to win.”

Belief in a higher power helped them survive the routine torture and daily indignities, Swindle says.

“It would help us endure what we had to endure. But we knew God wasn’t going to come down and wave a magic wand.”

http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=1372E056-3048-5C12-00A06112B1C61A64

McCain is going to have to do better than Swindle on this one.

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By purplewolf, August 18, 2008 at 4:40 pm Link to this comment

Hardly workin, I wondered about the sand bit also, but gave the benefit of the doubt that there may have been sand in the location Mcsane might have been held at. Like maybe close to the ocean so it would be easier to water torture all those pows, since John sees nothing wrong with that, I figured he must have seen it done in his “war days”.

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By Jim Yell, August 18, 2008 at 2:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

McCain needs a brain. Bush isn’t using his.

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By hardly workin, August 18, 2008 at 1:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Uhhh, is there sand in downtown Hanoi?  Dirt, not sand. On the other hand, Solzhenitsyn’s gulag was located in the Solovetski Islands in the White Sea east of Finland.  See this.

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, August 18, 2008 at 1:19 pm Link to this comment

Yeah, but in the heat of battle, things get distorted.  WhattaboutHillary?

Do you think Cindy McCain’s arm is really hurting?

Hey DaveinBigPine, I’ve been asking that as well.  I have concluded that, if Obama can’t effectivly expose McSame for what he is, then Obama’s probably not qualified to be president.

The Dems are a pathetic bunch of losers if they allow this to continue.

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By Keith, August 18, 2008 at 1:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I get so sick of hearing that bullshit. If the media was liberal they would’ve torn McSorry’s ass up by now re his POW story, all of a sudden becoming a Chrsitian, etc. Same goes with going after Bush re 9/11, pre-Iraq War intel, his constant lies, etc.

Give me a damn break people.

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By Don Stivers, August 18, 2008 at 12:29 pm Link to this comment

In my college days I learned to fly so I could fly Phantom Jets off of aircraft carriers and drop bombs on the communist Vietnamese.  I was not a Christian then.  I look back in horror that I could have killed innocent people on the ground.  Luckily I was declared 4-F when I went for my physical.  I could not fly.  As I grew older, I now realize that the Viet Nam War was a lie.  I do not believe a true Christian would have put oneself in a position to kill others from far above.  I do not believe a true Christian would glorify such actions.  There may be innocent people dead because of his bombs.  I could not call myself a Hero because I was shot out of the air.  A Hero does what Eddy Murphy did.  Purposely jumping up onto a tank KNOWING he was going to be killed protecting his buddies.  He somehow survived.
But being a war hero does not a President make.  Especially one who does not witness the carnage of war.  I have had Viet Nam War vets working for me that would make better Presidents than John McCain.  I’m sorry John McCain that you did not learn from your experience that war is HELL.  And that you are ignorant of world politics.  No where in the Bible have I ever read where Christ, as he walked the earth, ever commanded another person to kill another.

A Viet Nam vet who is a high school civic teacher would be a better President than John McCain.  And better than Obama too. 

I am a Republican who does not vote Republican just because I am registered that way.  I vote for whoever stands for truth and not many of any of the politicians fit that bill.  Dennis Kucinich comes the closest.

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By Big E, August 18, 2008 at 11:40 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Amazing how the ‘liberal media’ is soooo queasy about asking McCain any questions about his military history. Just another prime example of how powerful the ‘not questioning McCain’ atmosphere is and how reluctant, networks are to cover anything negative about McCain.

Of course it’s open season on anyone else as to whether or not they are ‘American enough’.

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By troublesum, August 18, 2008 at 11:03 am Link to this comment

I don’t know which is worse, that there are people retarded enough to feel better about McCain because he saw someone draw a cross in the dirt, or dailykos for being upset enough about it to research it.

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By felicity, August 18, 2008 at 10:50 am Link to this comment

Dave in BP - Obama doesn’t because McCain’s ‘story’ is about all that resonates about him with the American people.  In other words, it’d be political suicide for Obama to call out this “songbird.”

Then again, in ‘04 the fickle public voted into office a chicken-shit instead of a genuine war hero.  Go figure.

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By lodipete, August 18, 2008 at 10:09 am Link to this comment

It just sounded so fake and so contrived, so I did a little research about it. Someone on here said it sounded like a scene from Ben-Hur, so I did a google search about Ben-Hur and cross in the sand and such. No dice. But I searched around a little bit more and here is what I found. A story about Alexander Solzhenitsyn from his times in the Soviet Gulags.

  Right church, wrong pew.(Sorry,I couldn’t resist). You might be referring to “Demetrius & The Gladiators, where Ernest Borgnine as a roman something or other draws the symbol for a fish in the sand to let Victor Mature(My Idol) know that he’s a christian.

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By purplewolf, August 18, 2008 at 9:47 am Link to this comment

John has lived with Cindy too long. You know she has plagiarized recipes more than once recently for some of her cook books, which include the stolen recipes of Rachel Ray, that Cindy claims to have been in her family for generations. Must have morphed to John as well.

Yes, for a person who feels it is wrong to abort a fetus that might have the potential to become a human being, yet he feels it is perfectly fine and dandy to kill thousands to millions in wars and that is fine with their brand of God. Funny how the religious right see no wrong with this fact. But maybe it is fine with them, as most those killed are not their brand of religious belief, so therefore it doesn’t count.

John the undecided keeps changing his mind-provided he still has one- or maybe he just cannot remember or understand what he says, reads and signs as he has lied about almost everything that comes out of his mouth, even the day after he says it, or else he evades the answer or stares up and off to the left as if looking for the idiot card to tell him what to say. This cross in the sand story if just that, another tall tale tolf by some delusional person looking for brownie points.

John is just another giant bloodsucking political thief, perhaps a cross will finally destroy this human vampire who gets rich off of the poor and a free pass for all of his crimes against humanity.

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By Rusty, August 18, 2008 at 9:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

How far will McCain go to get votes? ANYWHERE! I’m so tired of hearing him and other Republicans use God as a vote-getting mechanism that I can hardly prevent myself from just gagging. McCain’s   “Cross” story is a LIE - a plain outright lie, along with hundreds of others he’s told. For God’s sake! Literally!  Stop!

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By Kwaayesnama, August 18, 2008 at 8:27 am Link to this comment

The fifth commandment reads simply and clearly: “Thou shalt not kill”. Rick Warren as a supposed man of God should have questioned John McCain and Barack Obama if invading a country in false pretenses and killing and maiming thousands if not millions of people is murder.

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By RichCares, August 18, 2008 at 6:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

it seems that the first time this cross story showed up, McCain told it about an American prisoner (not himself) it has since morphed, he is now the prisoner

Story originally came from:
Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s “The Gulag Archipelago” - 1973 (of whom McCain is a fan)

McCain’s own words:
THE 2000 CAMPAIGN; Excerpt From McCain’s Speech:
Many years ago a scared American prisoner of war in Vietnam was tied in torture ropes by his tormentors and left alone in an empty room to suffer through the night. Later in the evening a guard he had never spoken to entered the room and silently loosened the ropes to relieve his suffering. Just before morning, that same guard came back and re-tightened the ropes before his less humanitarian comrades returned. He never said a word to the grateful prisoner, but some months later, on a Christmas morning, as the prisoner stood alone in the prison courtyard, the same good Samaritan walked up to him and stood next to him for a few moments. Then with his sandal, the guard drew a cross in the dirt. Both prisoner and guard both stood wordlessly there for a minute or two, venerating the cross, until the guard rubbed it out and walked away.

NY Times 2000 link: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9904EFDE1239F93AA15751C0A9669C8B63&sec;=&spon;=&pagewanted=all

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By Robert, August 18, 2008 at 6:34 am Link to this comment

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Did John McCain “Borrow” His “Cross In The Sand” Story?

“I report, you decide. Transcript from the forum last night here.


It just sounded so fake and so contrived, so I did a little research about it. Someone on here said it sounded like a scene from Ben-Hur, so I did a google search about Ben-Hur and cross in the sand and such. No dice. But I searched around a little bit more and here is what I found. A story about Alexander Solzhenitsyn from his times in the Soviet Gulags.


(snip)

As he waited, head down, he felt a presence. Slowly he looked up and saw a skinny old prisoner squat down beside him. The man said nothing. Instead, he used a stick to trace in the dirt the sign of the Cross. The man then got back up and returned to his work.

As Solzhenitsyn stared at the Cross drawn in the dirt his entire perspective changed. He knew he was only one man against the all-powerful Soviet empire. Yet he knew there was something greater than the evil he saw in the prison camp, something greater than the Soviet Union. He knew that hope for all people was represented by that simple Cross. Through the power of the Cross, anything was possible.


Excerpted from “The Gulag Archipelago” by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, three volumes published 1973–1978.”


http://www.thepoliticalcarnival.blogspot.com/2008/08/did-john-mccain-borrow-his-cross-in.html

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By Dave in Big Pine, August 18, 2008 at 6:32 am Link to this comment

What I don’t understand is why Obama doesn’t just call out this “songbird” once and for all on his supposed “heroic” status. If McMoron objects, invite him to release his sealed POW records for all to see and judge. Show him for the liar that he is. Show him for the phony that he is.
McSenile is the best the Bilderberg Group, Trilateral Commission, and Council on Foriegn Relations can do? If they get this guy in the White House, they are truly the omnipotent force on this planet.

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